In this Book

The Ohio State University Press
buy this book Buy This Book in Print
summary
What does it mean to “know” what a work of fiction tells us? In Vergil’s Aeneid, the promise and uncertainty of fama convey this challenge. Expansive and flexible, the Latin word fama can mean “fame,” long-lasting “tradition,” and useful “news,” but also ephemeral “rumor” and disruptive “scandal.” Fama is personified as a horrifying winged goddess who reports the truth while keeping an equally tight grip on what’s distorted or made up. Fama reflects the ways talk—or epic song—may merge past and present, human and divine, things remembered and things imagined. Most importantly, fama marks the epic’s power to bring its story world into our own. The cognitive dynamics of metaphor share in this power, blending the Aeneid’s poetic authority with the imagined force of the gods. Characters and readers are encouraged—even impelled—to seek divine order amidst unsettling words and visions by linking new experiences with existing knowledge. Transformative moments of recognition set the perceptual stage both for the gods’ commands and for the epic’s persuasive efficacy, for pietas (remembrance of ritual and social obligations) and furor (madness). Antonia Syson’s sensitive close readings offer fresh insights into questions of fictive knowledge and collective memory in the Aeneid. These perspectives invite readers to reconsider some of the epistemological premises underlying inquiry into ancient cultures. Drawing comparisons with the nineteenth-century English novel, Syson highlights continuities between two narrative genres whose cultural contributions and rhetorical claims have often seemed sharply opposed.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. C-C
  3. open access Download |
  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. i-iv
  3. open access Download |
  1. Table of Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
  3. open access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-viii
  3. open access Download |
  1. 1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-43
  3. open access Download |
  1. 2. Monstrous Fama
  2. pp. 44-62
  3. open access Download |
  1. 3. Matter out of Place I: Across the Styx
  2. pp. 63-90
  3. open access Download |
  1. 4. This and That
  2. pp. 91-116
  3. open access Download |
  1. 5. Matter out of Place II: Nisus and Euryalus
  2. pp. 117-134
  3. open access Download |
  1. 6. The Order of Metamorphosis
  2. pp. 135-164
  3. open access Download |
  1. 7. Slithery Changes
  2. pp. 165-190
  3. open access Download |
  1. 8. How to Do Things with Birds
  2. pp. 191-213
  3. open access Download |
  1. Afterword: Swan Song
  2. pp. 214-218
  3. open access Download |
  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 219-229
  3. open access Download |
  1. Index Locorum
  2. pp. 230-231
  3. open access Download |
  1. General Index
  2. pp. 232-240
  3. open access Download |
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.